I have a Virgin Mobil phone just for emergencies. It works well, and we always get the $20 card for it. Only problem is, if you don't use your minutes within three months, you lose them and you'll have to get another card. That part seems like a waste to me. The phone works well though, I've never had bad reception on it. I don't know about calling long distance, I haven't done it. I make sure my husband has it with him every day, incase the car breaks down somewhere. You can't find pay phones anywhere in FL where we are, lol.